monarch butterfly, Wallwork Nature Reserve Mark Olivier

Land Trusts

Ontario Nature is one of Ontario's leading land trusts. While Ontario Nature has been stewarding land since 1961, land stewardship in Ontario has undergone a dramatic shift since the early 1990s. Private land stewardship has taken off, and is making great strides in protecting Ontario's natural features. Ordinary citizens are banding together and form land trusts to protect properties in their communities.

Follow the links to learn more about Ontario's land trust movement and Ontario Nature's role as an innovator in nature conservation, as well as conservation options available to you as a landowner.

What is a land trust?

A land trust is a registered charitable non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and protecting natural and cultural areas. The Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) was formed in 2001 to act as the provincial coordinating body for, and encourage the land trust movement throughout Ontario. With land acquisitions dating back to 1961, and with 24 properties, Ontario Nature was a founding member of OLTA. While their individual goals may differ, most land trusts in the province share the following goals and characteristics:

  • land trusts protect and manage areas of natural, cultural and historical value,
  • land trusts are non-governmental, operating for the public benefit,
  • land trusts secure and protect heritage sites through land purchase or donation, conservation easements, or programs to cooperate with landowners, and
  • land trusts are community supported through memberships, donations and volunteer involvement.

In Ontario, more than 32 volunteer-based land trusts, along with Ontario Nature, are working to protect lands with a variety of naturally or culturally significant features and habitats. Large areas of land, which might otherwise be developed, degraded or damaged, are being saved through the work of land trusts, including acquisition, conservation easements, education, and the promotion of good land stewardship.

Roles of land trusts - advice, education and acquisition

Ontario Nature, as Ontario's leading land trust, will work with landowners like you to provide advice and assistance to help you manage your land for conservation. Whether you are interested in protecting your property's natural features, ensuring that the future use of the property includes environmentally sensitive development, or learning more about property tax incentive programs, Ontario Nature will answer your questions and provide advice to you to help create a conservation strategy for your land.

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